Kicking It Up Kinky in Miami
By Skip Sheffield
If you can’t wait for the Broadway musical “Kinky Boots” to come to Broward Center in March, you can experience it right now through this Sunday, Dec. 13 at Arsht Center in Miami.
We journeyed to downtown Miami on opening night Dec. 8. It was totally worth it.
“Kinky Boots” is an expansion and enhancement of the 2005 British film comedy. The script is by clever, outspoken Harvey Fierstein with a peppy original score by "She's So Unusual" pop star Cyndi Lauper. The original story was inspired by a real event in northern England. An old-fashioned shoe factory began manufacturing men’s fetish footwear in order to survive.
In the play the shoe company is called Price & Son, established in 1890 in Northampton, England. When Mr. Price (Tom Southrada) dies suddenly and unexpectedly, his inexperienced son Charlie (Adam Kaplan) inherits the business. Charlie is engaged to be married to the pushy, ambitious Nicola (Charissa Hogeland), who wants no part of the shoe business. Nicola thinks Charlie should sell the business and allow the building to be converted into a condo. When Charlie learns the business is badly in the red, he is tempted by Nicola’s suggestion.
Enter Lola (J. Harrison Ghee), a flamboyant local drag queen star. When Lola complains bitterly about the flimsy women’s shoes he and his fellow drag queens struggle with, Charlie gets an idea. Why not design a dancer’s boot large enough to fit a man and strong enough to support his weight?
Harrison Ghee is slim and very tall. He looks the part of Simon, a former boxer. He also knows his way around ladies’ frocks and makeup. So do his supporting “Angels,” who are so pretty and graceful it is hard to believe they are not girls. Above all they are excellent dancers, under the athletic choreography of director Jerry Mitchell, recreating his Broadway work.
When Charlie makes the decision to design outlandish “kinky boots,” he reasons the best platform to introduce them is at a prestigious runway shoe fashion show in Milan, Italy. There are a couple of obstacles. Nicola issues an ultimatum that Charlie cannot agree to. Lola gets his feelings hurt and pulls out of the show at the last minute.
Of course this is feel-good musical theater in the tradition of “La Cage aux Folles” and “Hairspray.” Charlie will find a more appropriate love in loyal employee Lauren (Tiffany Engen), The male employees, led by strapping George (Jim J. Bullock), will overcome their prejudices and Lola will recover his senses in time for the spectacular curtain number, “Raise You Up/Just Be.” You may well want to get up and dance along.
Tickets are $29 and up. Call 877-949-6722 or 305-949-6722.